Williams draws level with Cardiff great

Williams draws level with Cardiff great

Lloyd Williams will move level with Taufa’ao Filise’s appearance record as Cardiff travel to Leinster for the final United Rugby Championship clash before the international break.

Tongan international, Filise, made his 255th and final Cardiff appearance in the victorious Challenge Cup final in Bilbao in 2018, becoming club’s record appearance maker in the regional era.

Scrum half Williams, who coincidentally also made his first team debut against Leinster back in 2010, returns to the starting line-up on Saturday as Cardiff make six changes from last week’s defeat in Brive.

Joining Williams at half back is Jarrod Evans, whose inclusion sees Rhys Priestland move to full back.

Rey Lee-Lo makes a timely return in midfield, while Owen Lane recovers from an ankle injury and is named on the wing.

After being rested for the trip to Brive, captain Josh Turnbull occupies the blindside flank, pairing up with James Botham and James Ratti in the back row.

Brad Thyer is the only change made to the front five, replacing Rhys Carré, another member of Cardiff’s eight international call-ups.

Cardiff director of rugby, Dai Young said: “It’s a great achievement for Lloyd to equal Fa’ao and collectively we are all really excited for the challenge ahead.

“Leinster are unbeaten this season and they don’t lose many games, whether home or away. They are always one of the very best teams in Europe so we know it is going to be a huge test for us.

“We have about 20 players missing and that leaves about 23 players to select from but we still have a lot of quality and I am confident in the team we have named.

“We are acutely aware that we need to get everything right but there’s no reason why we can’t go out there, do that and win.

“We beat them here last year and I think we’ve got a blueprint. You certainly can’t sit back and see what they’ve got, because they’ve got a lot. You have to make sure that you get your game going and start well.

“Make no bones about it, we’re going to have to be at least nine out of ten to go and get the result but we’ve done it before.”

Lock Rory Thornton is named on the bench and is in-line to make his 100th league appearance,

Also included amongst the replacements is hooker Kristian Dacey, who features in the matchday 23 for the first time in seven weeks, having recovered from a calf injury.

Cardiff: Rhys Priestland; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Ben Thomas, Jason Harries; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Brad Thyer, Kirby Myhill, Keiron Assiratti, Lopeti Timani, Seb Davies, Josh Turnbull (capt.), James Botham, James Ratti

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Corey Domachowski, Will Davies-King, Rory Thornton, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Ellis Bevan, Aled Summerhill, Matthew Morgan

Unavailable for selection: (Injury) Josh Navidi, Willis Halaholo, Jacob Beetham, Gwilym Bradley, Jamie Hill, Max Llewellyn, Theo Cabango, Thomas Young, Liam Belcher, Dmitri Arhip, Harri Millard

(Wales) Rhys Carré, Dillon Lewis, Teddy Williams, Taulupe Faletau, Tomos Williams, Josh Adams, Mason Grady, Liam Williams

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